Pedestrian injuries among teens are on the rise and experts believe it's because so many are distracted by their phones while walking. Many of us have done it -- checked our phones to read a new text or send a quick tweet as we stroll down the street. It only takes a few seconds, right? And while we know we should watch where we’re going, we think, worst case: We’ll bump into the person in front of us, or trip on the sidewalk.
But experts are blaming texting and walking on the rising number of pedestrian injuries and deaths among teens. Walking safely, they say, is, in fact, a two way street: it requires the focused attention of both pedestrians and drivers. A new report shows that in recent years, pedestrian injuries among 16 to 19 year-olds increased 25 percent. Teens aged 14 to 19 made up half of all child pedestrian injuries, according to the report from SafeKids, a global non-profit organization focused on preventing injuries among children.
The study, Walking Safely: A Report to the Nation, took snapshot views of pedestrian death and injury among five year intervals from 1995 through 2010 and looked at age groups 0 to 4, 5 to 9, 10 to 14 and 15 to 19. Using data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the U.S. Census Bureau, SafeKids found that the death rate among older teens is now twice that of younger kids, with 1.11 deaths per 100,000 members of the population as opposed to .47, .33, and .45 in the other cohorts respectively. While the report, sponsored by FedEx, doesn’t break down how many of those were using mobile devices at the time of injury, Kate Carr, president and CEO of SafeKids Worldwide, says she believes that’s what is driving the rise in injuries.
“In addition to the increase in pedestrian injuries we saw among older teenagers, we also examined numerous outside reports about how much mobile use has increased among teens, “ she says. “We know that the average number of texts per teen has risen dramatically. Couple that with drivers who are talking on the phone or texting, and you have distracted people on both sides of the equation. Our hypothesis is that the rise in injuries among these older teens is caused by their dramatic increase in their cell phone use.”
OK. Important question: Who is at fault? The pedestrian or the driver?
Answer: Maybe both.
As a Phoenix Personal Injury Lawyer, we have in Arizona what is called a “comparative negligence” jurisdiction. That means a “shared” fault state.
Between pedestrian and driver, each/both may be responsible. The percentage will add up to 100%, but may be allocated differently.
Pedestrian not paying attention and steps off the cub into the street? Maybe then, the allocation is pedestrian: 100%, driver: 0%.
Pedestrian in marked crosswalk do as he/she should be doing? Maybe driver is 100%, pedestrian 0%.
Other facts? Could be 50/50, could be 75/25, could be 64/36, etc… It can be a “shared” fault, measured by percentage, the total adding up to 100.
It is disturbing to see that in all facets of life, we are being distracted, to our own detriment.
Cell phones are great, but we must learn to use them safely and at the right times.